Ames Free Library

"Where the Community Connects"

A Glimpse of Nature- Conspicuous in Fall

On Monday, September 19, some enthusiastic and knowledgeable folks savored the wildflowers of the Ames Free Library campus. If you weren’t there, you missed a good time of shared curiosity, experience, discovery, and laughter. You also might have missed the peak of this season’s blossoms. After a very hot and dry summer, the rains and cool weather have finally arrived. The forecast now includes daytime highs below 60℉ and nighttime lows near 40℉. Happy fall! Of course, our glorious native asters will continue to put on a show, but more on that another day.

Now is a good time to focus on plants whose leaves, fruit and seeds become conspicuous in fall. Think sugar maple foliage and acorns, for example. In that spirit, here is a list of attention-getting plants to observe at the library this week.


Common Milkweed

Look for its spiky pods and parachute seeds.


Poison Ivy

Look for its brilliant fall color and its clusters of white fruit.



Look for the brown, hairy spikelets of this tall bullrush.




Look for galls, that is abnormal swellings, on goldenrod stems.  

  A  goldenrod gall fly caused this ball-shaped gall to form.


Porcelain Berry

Look for multi-colored fruit on a grape-like vine.



 Bull Thistle

Look for downy, wind-dispersed seeds . . . and all those prickles!



Look for its clusters of black/purple fruit and its magenta stems.


Shagbark Hickory

Look for empty shells left by squirrels and chipmunks.


Oriental Bittersweet

Look for yellow fruit on a vigorous vine.  

When these husks split, scarlet “berries” will be revealed.


Virginia Creeper

Look for this vine’s crimson foliage and blue berries.

 Reminder: Your nature photo could be the topic of our next "What Is It!" post. Email it to





Blog Category: 


Submitted by Louis John on

great photos and subject

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.